The ever insightful Sarah A. Hoyt has an interesting essay up called If You Were A Grown Up, My Love. She has a look at the strange relationship between the SJW and the working classes as exemplified in the Hugo winner “IF you were a dinosaur my love”. I’ve tried to convince Sarah to write for SuperversiveSF, but not joy on that front yet. Give it a read.
When I was very young I used to think that stories where everyone died, or stories where pointless but sad things happened were about the best thing ever. They were profound and so different from every other story I’d read till that time which were all boys-aventures or fairytales that ended well and with a moral.
If You Were A Dinosaur my Love’s win bothered me at a level I can’t begin to explain, and it still bothers me, like an aching tooth to which the tongue keeps returning. It’s not just that could have been written by me at 12 and would have got, from my middle school teacher, exactly the sort of praise it got from science fiction professionals.
It’s the ideas packed into the story that are truly disturbing.
A story that reveals a total lack of knowledge of an entire class of people (manual laborers) and instead others them as sort of scary all purpose evil that will beat to death anyone who doesn’t look/act like them won an award voted on by – supposedly – adult professionals. Not only that, but adult professionals who keep claiming their tolerance and love of the “other.” What’s more, adult professionals who would almost certainly embrace “Marxism” as a good or at least correct idea. When did Marxists start loathing and fearing the working class? And admitting it?
It made perfect sense for ten or twelve year old me to write and love that sort of thing. The only working class people I knew were in the village and I’d seen movies like everyone else where working class LABORERS were sort of beasts unleashed. But the movies aren’t real and every adult knows that, right? Every adult knows that people are just people and that intellectual prowess is not an indicative of goodness or moral right, right?
The only way to think that all manual laborers are a sort of painted devil to scare readers with is to never have met any. I rather like people who work with their hands and who do real, often difficult and dirty work.
I didn’t raise my kids in mixed (there was always some gentrification pushing in) neighborhoods by choice exactly. It was a combination of what we could afford and the fact I don’t like driving and most of the older, walkable neighborhoods are a mixed bag.
Kids grew up with children who were the children of the local police chief, or the local chef at a greasy spoon (Robert’s best friend to his early teens), or the occasional child of a college professor.